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Guiding parents and teachers to navigate the challenges of ADHD

ADHD is a medical condition marked by developmental delays in children and teens, and often leads to challenges in parenting. It tends to be greatly misunderstood by medical and therapeutic providers, who may develop treatment plans that rely on medication as a sole source of treatment to the exclusion of behavior management training in parenting. Parenting interventions are effective, recommended, and have been proven to improve symptoms for children and teens. Most experts agree that ADHD is much (cont'd below)

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Leading Articles about Managing ADHD

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Why I Chose to Medicate My ADHD Child

By Diane Dempster

At Impact we take a neutral stance on the use of medication as an intervention for ADHD treatment and management.…

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How to Manage Them, Me and Their ADHD

Interview with John Willson

Parenting with ADHD is no easy task, even if you’ve been doing it for years. There is always something surprising…

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Start with Curiosity When ADHD Kids Break the Rules

By Diane Dempster

We had quite an adventure with rules this week. My son broke a house rule, and then lied about it. …

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Get Organized: 10 Tips to Manage an ADHD Household

By Terry Matlen

It’s tough when one or more kids in a household has ADHD. Toys are strewn about the house and dirty…

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Is It ADHD, a Reading Disability, or Both?

By Jennifer Hasser

As a parent of a child with ADHD, I know a great deal of time is spent on the age-old…

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3 Skills to Help Your Child Remember

By Florence Cannon

Prospective memory  — that is, remembering to perform a planned action at some future time — is crucial for managing…

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How Sanity School® Helped me Become Teacher Of Year

By Jessica Ging

I took the Sanity School® course first as a parent, and quickly realized that it could greatly impact my classroom.…

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Medication For Kids With ADHD — Is It Just About School Work?

By Elaine Taylor-Klaus and Diane Dempster

Welcome to Tea & Tips, where we respond to burning questions from parents and educators — taking aim on one…

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Doctor’s Advice to Make it Easier to Parent ADHD

Interview with Mark Bertin

We all come into parenting with a lot of preconceived notions of how things should be. We read traditional advice…

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(continued) more than a ‘deficit of attention.’ Instead, ADHD can appear as a rather complicated collection of symptoms, manifesting somewhat differently for each individual. It may more easily be understood as a brain-based developmental delay in executive function. It can also be confused with or compounded by the many co-existing conditions that are common for people with ADHD, including anxiety, learning disabilities, depression, asthma, allergies, autism, Tourette syndrome, as well as newer (and less-well-known or researched) conditions, such as rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD).

Executive functions are responsible for how we think, feel, and act. They’re how we get ourselves to do (or not do) absolutely anything. Therefore, the symptoms that lead to an ADHD diagnosis are not just whether or not someone can pay attention, but whether they can self-regulate – whether they can decide what to pay attention to, stick with it, finish what they’re focusing on, minimize their impulses, and avoid getting distracted in the process. That’s what makes parenting so difficult.

The five areas most commonly reflected in ADHD symptoms rely heavily on executive function: attention (focus), impulsivity, organization, emotional intensity, and (sometimes) hyperactivity. Again, when kids, teens or young adults struggle with these issues, it can cause significant challenges in parenting.

Whether parents are trying to get life moving in the mornings or just help their kids and teens manage any or all of their responsibilities, ADHD is best treated by a combination of medication and ‘behavior therapy,’ otherwise known as parent management training, or behavior management training. With training, parenting can work with medication (when relevant) to teach children and teens skills in self-management, and ultimately improve outcomes for the whole family.